Disclaimer: I'm just playing in JKR's world, the lovely lady. I'll spare her from being connected with the pure fluffyness of this fic and claim that for myself however.
AN: The inspiration for this came directly from the poem, "The Quiet World" by Jeffrey McDaniel. Please review if you like it, or if you have any constructive criticisms. If that doesn't sway you, think of it as a late Christmas present. ;)
When the decree first appeared, everyone was shocked. Everyone, except for me.
For a month, every witch and wizard has been assigned 150 words per day to use as they please due to an effort to bring the population back together through more intimate contact after the war. With fewer words to spare, people have to use their eyes and their hands for others to understand what they want, and I'm adjusting to the new way very well. After all, I've spent the first seventeen years of my life trying to find the words to say as the boy who lived, and seventeen years of never being able to.
What do you say to a mother whose son is dead because you didn't kill the Dark Lord first? Nothing. Words don't make that better and yet, people used to wait for me to say them anyway. No one waits for me to say anything these days, and I feel like I can finally catch my breath.
I communicate in the Auror office through hand gestures and wand movements, which turns out to work well. You don't need words to communicate to someone that they need to get out of the office now, right now, when you have paperweights and stinging hexes. It's petty and childish, but I spent the time I should have been allowed to be both of those things trying to grow up and be an adult so I don't feel too bad about it.
It's blissful, sweet relief knowing that I won't have to experience the feeling of words getting lodged in the back of my throat before they can find their way out of my mouth. For an entire month, there's no need for sweaty palms or thoughts too rapid and panicked to form any semblance of a coherent sentence. I can usually make it through an entire day only using up half of my 150 words, and the rest I save for nighttime, when I use them for something so much more useful.
About halfway through the month of silence, there's a very important day which will be marked by an eerie silence in the Ministry that stretches from one side of the atrium to the other. It's unnatural and strange for humans to be so silent, when they always seem so eager to hear themselves speak. It's a contest for them it seems, to find out who can speak the loudest, who has the most to say… who has the most impressive anecdote or who has been having the worse day. I've never understood these useless words that serve no purpose and disappear into the air just as meaningless as they were when they appeared in the speaker's head. Today, I don't have to hear them at all and that makes the date even better.
I manage to make it all the way to lunch without saying anything more than, "Shut the fuck up, please," which, given the circumstances, is really quite an ironic thing to have to say. After lunch unfortunately, I have to give a quick debriefing that doesn't contain nearly as much information as it should, but the rest can be determined easily once out in the heat of the mission. I give Collins a quick glance that says a hundred words about his earlier outburst in the day that warranted wasting five of my precious words, and he has the decency to turn a bit red around the ears.
By the time I'm ready to Floo back home, I've only used up 95 of my words, which is no record of mine, but it's not too shabby either. With a handful of grey dust and a burst of emerald flames, I'm shooting through the network as I do everyday, but I never quite got used to the sensation of my stomach dropping into my toes.
When I stumble out of the fireplace and into the spacious mansion I share with someone special, I'm grinning like a fool. When I was in school, I had the tendency to blow everything out of proportion, less because I was a teenager and more out of necessity. A short line in an article in the paper could mean Voldemort was on the move and heading my way. A significant look from a professor could mean I needed to watch my back. I'm not really any different now, but today, I'm blowing something out of proportion for a good reason. Today is our anniversary. Draco and I's.
I'd taste how that sounds if I didn't want to waste those three words.
When I round the couch, I see that something has gone wrong because that beautiful blond man does not seem happy nor does he have the familiar bite of a sarcastic comment waiting for me. There's a quick click of a moment in which the world seems to shrink to just the two of us, and I sink into it as the feeling of having the only person I really need sitting in front of me loosens my muscles. Whatever is bothering him is okay, because we're together. I feel the comfort of it seeping into my bones.
With a quick movement, I sit on the couch next to him and slip my arms around his waist. His nose wrinkles at the sudden close contact in the familiar way that makes everyone else both loathe and admire him at exactly the same time. "I saved 55 words for you today." Sad grey eyes turn to look at me, and I can tell that he doesn't have any left.
Stupid blond git, I think fondly, but it's okay, because he's my stupid blond git. Even if he never has been able to figure out when he should keep his mouth well and truly closed. I don't want to know what he's wasted his words on instead of saving them for me.
With my arms still wrapped tightly around his middle, I tuck my chin into his shoulder and whisper three words to him, sixteen times. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…" until I've run out of my words too.
I can tell he's smiling even with my face turned away. We spend the rest of the night sitting together and listening to the sound of our breathing.
It means more than any words could.